Kurt H. Riitters, James D. Wickham, James E. Vogelmann, and K. Bruce Jones. 2000. National land-cover pattern data. Ecology 81:604..

Data Paper

Ecological Archives E081-004

Data files



Kurt H. Riitters (for all correspondence)
US Geological Survey
Biological Resources Division
Campus Box 8002
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina 27695 USA
e-mail: kurt@usgs.gov

James D. Wickham
US Environmental Protection Agency
National Exposure Research Laboratory
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711 USA

James E. Vogelmann
Raytheon-ITSS Corporation
USGS EROS Data Center
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57198 USA

K. Bruce Jones
US Environmental Protection Agency
National Exposure Research Laboratory
Box 93478
Las Vegas, Nevada 89193 USA

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Land cover and its spatial patterns are key ingredients in ecological studies that consider large regions and the impacts of human activities. Because land-cover maps show only cover types and their locations, further processing is needed to extract pattern information and to characterize its spatial variability. We are producing a nationally consistent spatial database of six land-cover pattern indices: forest area density, forest connectivity, the U index (a measure of general land-use pressure by humans), land-cover connectivity, land-cover diversity, and landscape pattern types. We use the land-cover maps produced by the Multi-resolution Land Characteristics Consortium for the conterminous United States at 30-m resolution. The goal of this paper is to encourage use of the pattern data as: contextual information and independent variables for studies involving a set of field sites; indicators of landscape conditions for ecological assessments; and dependent variables in biogeographic and socioeconomic models. The new maps will be most useful in studies that require consistent and comparable land-cover pattern measurements over large regions and can be combined with the original land-cover maps and other data.

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